Equestrianism made its Olympic debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.

It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. In each discipline, both individual and team medals are awarded. It is one of the sports on the programme where women and men compete together on equal terms.

What is dressage?
In modern Dressage competitions, horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements, known as ‘figures’ (volte, serpentine, figure of eight). They perform these movements in a completely flat, rectangular arena, measuring 40 x 20m or 60 x 20m. The arena is skirted by a low rail along which 12 lettered markers are placed symmetrically indicating where movements are to start and finish and where changes of pace occur. Upon entering the arena, each rider proceeds down a marked centre line and halts to salute. In all competitions, the horse has to show the paces: walk, trot and canter as well as smooth transitions within and between these paces.

Dressage is one of the three disciplines in competition at the Olympic Games, the other two being Jumping and Eventing.

What is Jumping?
In modern Jumping competitions, horse and rider are required to complete a course of 10 to 13 jumps, the objective of which is to test the combination’s skill, accuracy and training.

The aim is always to jump the course in the designed sequence with no mistakes – a clear round. If any part of an obstacle is knocked down or if the horse refuses a jump, penalties are accumulated. The winner of the competition is the horse and rider combination that incurs the least number of penalties, completes the course in the fastest time or gains the highest number of points depending on the type of competition.

Jumping is one of the three disciplines in competition at the Olympic Games, the other two being Eventing and Dressage.

What is eventing?

Eventing demands of the competitor considerable experience in all branches of equitation and a precise knowledge of the horse’s ability and of the horse a degree of competence resulting from intelligent and rational training. It covers all round riding ability and horsemanship: the harmony between horse and rider that characterise Dressage; the contact with nature, precise knowledge of the horses ability and extensive experience essential for the Cross Country; the precision, agility and technique involved in Jumping.

Eventing is one of the three disciplines in competition at the Olympic Games, the other two being Jumping and Dressage.

The winning individual is the competitor with the lowest total of penalty points. The winning team is the one with the lowest total of penalty points, after adding together the final scores of the three highest placed competitors in the team

Ireland won a bronze medal with Cian O’Connor in the show jumping event at the London Olympic Games.

National Federation: Horse Sport Ireland

International Federation: Fédération Équestre Internationale


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Sam Watson

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Cathal Daniels

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Bertram Allen

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